Chris Magryta, MD: Top ten reasons to breastfeed your infant

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 30, 2015

Novant Health Rowan Hospital is one step away from getting the national Baby Friendly Designation.  This honor is given out rarely and is a testament to the hospital’s commitment to all mothers and their babies. This is great news for all mothers to be. The entire maternal ward staff at the hospital is trained in promoting and facilitating the establishment of effective nursing for all newborn patients.

As a pediatrician, I am thrilled with the persistent move toward breastfeeding with all of its free and natural benefits.  As this is national Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I thought that I would give a top ten reasons to breastfeed your infant.

1)   Most important: Establish the correct gut flora! These bacteria are critical for immune and gut health. Formula is known to promote different and less beneficial species.

2)   Mother’s milk contains infection fighting secretory IgA antibodies that protect the infant against bacteria and viruses from the local region.

3)   Breast milk has 8% prebiotic carbohydrate that is only consumed by the infant’s intestinal bacteria. This prebiotic food promotes these healthy bacteria that we need to have normal gut function.

4)   Breastfeeding regulates the infants hormones better than formula and is believed to correlate with better weight control.

5)   Reduced allergic and asthmatic disease.

6)   Decreased risk of developing type I and II diabetes mellitus.

7)   Decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

8)   Decreased risk of white blood cell cancers.

9)   Breastmilk changes over the first year of life to meet your infants needs.

10)      Billions of dollars in cost savings nationally.

“American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby’s life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.”

This article is not about demonizing formula. It is about the real difference and benefits of breastfeeding that mothers need to know. There is no comparison. It is the difference between a million dollars and a hundred. Both are better than nothing, however, one is much better if you ask me.

 

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